Forget Customer Service Processes, it’s People that Count.


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I seem to spend a lot of time gibbering on about how it’s vital to ensure that business processes support the customer, and how feedback can help to ensure that this happens. But now I’m going to completely undermine myself and say that sometimes it doesn’t matter if processes are a bit dodgy, as long as your employees are brilliant.

I recently received a call from an Italian wine company whose product I buy from time to time. Their wine is great and they often have extremely good offers available. I’m a sucker for half price anything, but half price Barbera D’Asti is a particular weakness.

The call came from Italy and when I answered I was greeted with the cheeriest “Bongiorno from Italy!” I’ve ever heard. I practically handed over my credit card details then and there. The woman talked me through the offer she thought I’d like, which was based on my previous purchases, and then quoted a price that was significantly lower than I’d expected. I took her up on the deal (she also used the phrase “and we’ll include a magnum of Barolo”. It would have been madness not to).

But it wasn’t really the deal I was buying; it was the woman I was speaking to. She was friendly, efficient, funny, well informed, and so enthusiastic that I almost wondered if she’d been sampling the wares earlier in the day.

Now, the company’s processes and operations are far from perfect. Their Website is a long way from being the slickest I’ve used; they send me the same offers by post, e-mail, and often then phone me as well; and all their written material is in a rather strange Italian-English hybrid that often doesn’t entirely make sense. It also takes a good couple of weeks for the wine to arrive, and there’s no next-day delivery option (for those empty wine rack emergencies).

It would be very easy to find these issues annoying and buy wine elsewhere. There are more efficient online wine clubs that also have good deals, combined with slicker processes that might make the experience smoother. But I don’t think that becoming more efficient would make this particular company’s experiences much better. I genuinely had fun during the conversation—how often can you say that about a sales phone call?

Most companies will say their best asset is their people, and some of them genuinely mean it. Great people aren’t an excuse for poor processes, but it’s a hell of a lot better than great processes and lousy staff.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Carolyn Hall
Carolyn Hall is a Product Marketing Manager with Confirmit. Primary focus on creating marketing and PR materials that focus on the business value of technology. Articles published in a number of marketing and customer-focused publications, and experience of hosting round table session with senior marketing executives.


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